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What If I'm Pregnant ...?
By Carla Cassidy
Harlequin Enterprises LtdCopyright © 2003 Carla Cassidy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneColette Carson stood in her bathroom and pulled the pregnancy test out of the plastic shopping bag. Her fingers trembled as she opened the box and pulled out the test instrument and the directions.
She read the directions quickly, then looked at her reflection in the mirror over the sink. Her eyes were slightly swollen from her morning of tears, and her pale face radiated the torment of heartbreak that ached inside her.
She couldn't think about that, she thought as she scanned the directions to the test one last time. She absolutely, positively couldn't think about him.
Four weeks ago the only wish in her life had been to be pregnant, and she'd opted to become a single parent. She'd found a clinic that offered artificial insemination and had gone through the procedure.
Four weeks ago, all she'd wanted was to be pregnant, but that had been before she'd met him, before she'd fallen in love with him and had her heart broken into a million little pieces.
She stared down at the directions one last time. She'd bought the one she'd thought would be easiest to read. Within three minutes either a plus or minus sign would appear in the test window. Plus meant pregnant. Minus meant not pregnant.
Simple. Easy. Except that since she had been artificially inseminated her life had suddenly become complicated and she wasn't sure now if she wanted to be pregnant.
Deciding she could put it off no longer, she took the test, then set it on the counter and prepared to wait the three minutes.
"Oh, my," she muttered to herself. "What if I'm pregnant?"
Colette Carson entered her apartment, kicked off her shoes and dropped tiredly on the overstuffed beige sofa. It had been exactly fourteen days since she had been artificially inseminated and on every one of those days she'd wondered if her wish, her dream was about to come true.
If the procedure had been successful, then she would not only be the owner of Little Bit Baby Boutique, but she would become one of her own best customers. She smiled with sweet anticipation and touched her tummy lovingly.
She'd never been more ready for a baby than she was at this moment in her life. She was twenty-eight years old, her boutique was successful beyond her dreams and she was confident she could successfully raise a child alone.
She had approached the decision to become a mother as she had everything else in her life, with unemotional logic and careful clearheaded planning.
Looking at her watch, she realized Gina would be home at any minute and it was Colette's turn to cook dinner. She pulled herself up and off the sofa, thinking of the young woman who not only worked for her in her shop but had also become her roommate three weeks ago.
Gina Rothman was a sweet, considerate twenty-one-year-old, who was renting Colette's second bedroom until she could afford a place of her own.
An old friend had asked Colette if she could take in the young woman and Colette's initial response had been "no way."
After a string of bad roommates, Colette had decided she wasn't willing to share her living space ever again. She didn't need the rent money a roommate would bring in, and she certainly didn't need the headaches.
She was still trying to get over the horror of her last roommate, a woman named Trina who had been into primal screaming and practiced her yoga buck naked in Colette's living room.
But Margaret Jamison had begged, telling her that Gina Rothman was a sweet young woman eager to work hard and forge a path in the world for herself.
Finally Colette had relented. So far the arrangement had worked out remarkably well.
Gina appeared to have no hidden vices and seemed eager to learn everything Colette could teach her about running a business and living in the city.
In the kitchen Colette went to the refrigerator and peered in at the contents. There was a pound of hamburger, and she tried to decide whether she wanted to make a quick spaghetti sauce or tacos.
Before she could make up her mind, she heard the front door open, then slam shut. She left the kitchen and walked into the living room to see Gina putting the chain lock on the door.
"Spaghetti or tacos?" she asked her pretty young roommate.
Gina whirled around to face Colette, her big blue eyes widened in panic. "You've got to hide me," she exclaimed. She raced over to Colette and grabbed her hand. "You've got to tell him I don't live here, that you don't know who I am or where I live." The words spilled out of her as she shot a backward glance to the front door.
"Slow down," Colette replied with alarm. "What's going on? Who are you hiding from?" Great. She knew Gina was too good to be true. Had Gina neglected to mention a crazed stalker ex-boyfriend?
"Tanner. He's found me," Gina cried, tears springing to her eyes.
Excerpted from What If I'm Pregnant ...? by Carla Cassidy Copyright © 2003 by Carla Cassidy
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.